AOW3 always kicks my butt, i probably suck at it.
In that case, you'd better focus on strategy and use auto resolve for battles.
Age of Wonders series is different because it is good cocktail 4x strategy, tactical combat, and RPG. As are Heroes of Might & Magic, Total War, and Lords of the Realm series, and Knights of Honor (maybe more). In Age of Wonders series, 4x strategy is much closer to Civilization than in other aforementioned games. Like fantasy equivalent of Pandora (I have that too). RPG element is there in form of heroes. Leader character (player's avatar) gets the most detail, but also other heroes can level up, gain skills, spells, and equipment. Unlike in HOMM, heroes take more active part in fighting as movable game pieces while also providing skills and bonuses for the rank & file under their command (like climbing over the walls). Rank & file can also move and fight without the heroes. In AOW3, stack limit is 5 (including hero(es)) per hex. But when fight begins, units from all adjacent hexes take part to it. Yes, it is actually possible to surround a fortress and attack it with several stacks from multiple directions! But if you want to play professional who cares more about logistics than tactics, you can let AI handle the battles (it's calculated rather than played out). AOW3 has much more fine detail, like different races having different preferences in terrain: Elves move faster through forest than other races and have higher morale & happiness in there which grant them bonuses in combat as well as out of it (they're also good with archery, and musketeers are part of the archery club). Single player campaigns have also stories to tell. Definitely worth of checking out (demos available; not on Steam though) if you haven't already.
You know what they say, don't you? About how us MechWarriors are the modern knights, how warfare has become civilized now that we have to abide by conventions and rules of war. Don't believe it. MekWars